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Taipei Traffic - TaiPei Travel Guide
Update: 6/13/2008 10:42:00 PM Source: Taipei Hotel


Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
Taipei's international airport is officially called Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (IATA: TPE). However, be aware that as this name was only adopted in September 2006, the old name, Chiang Kai Shek International Airport (often abbreviated as CKS), is still commonly used. The airport is located about 30 km from the city, and freeway buses ply the route, picking up and dropping off passengers at most of the five star hotels as well as Taipei Main Station and the domestic airport (Songshan Airport), which is located in downtown Taipei. There are also bus services connecting the airport to nearby cities and Taichung in central Taiwan. Travelers to other destinations need to change transportation in Taipei.
There are three transportation options at the airport: bus, taxi, and pre-arranged sedan. An MRT line is under constuction, but it will not completed until February, 2011 .
Here are the options from cheapest to most expensive:
Express airport buses cost between NT$120 and NT$150 depending on the bus company, and there are stops at both terminals. Most Taipei routes are dived into West and East, with each company operating a service e very ten to fifteen minutes on each route. The western line buses terminate at Taipei Main Railway Station and also make a stop at Yuanshan MRT Station on the Xindian line (NB: The Airbus company buses on the western line meander through local towns before joining the freeway and therefore take much longer than the blue and white Guoguang buses which enter the freeway directly). Buses plying the eastern route terminate at the Taipei Grand Hyatt Hotel and make a stop at Zhongxiao-Fuxing MRT Station on the Nangang and Muzha lines. There is also a bus connecting to the domestic Songshan Airport. Ticket counters display route maps showing all stops.
In addition, there are some non-express buses which are slightly cheaper, but pass through towns such as Taoyuan, Nankan or Kueishan before arriving in Taipei.
When returning to the airport, express buses can be caught at various stops throughout the city. One major one is accessible via Exit 9 at the underground mall beneath Zhongxiao West Road (in front of Taipei Main Railway Station) or Exit 5 if you are coming out of the Taipei Main Station MRT, and another is at the terminal at the Songshan Domestic Airport. Other stops are outside major hotels and also in front of Minsheng MRT Station. For people taking early morning flights, the earliest available buses to the airport leave at around 4AM from the Far Eastern Plaza Hotel (201 Dunhua South Road Section 2).
A one-way taxi fare between the airport and Taipei will cost at the minimum NT$900 (generally NT$1000-1200 from the airport). In Taipei, don't make the mistake of asking a taxi driver to take you to the Taipei airport (Songshan) if you actually mean Taiwan Taoyuan Airport. The international airport is actually about an hour's drive from Taipei, while Songshan is located in downtown Taipei.
A one-way pre-arranged sedan fare between the airport and Taipei will cost at the minimum NT$1300-1500. Generally these sedans are pre-arranged through your hotel and the sedan company or driver will meet you as soon as you exit baggage claim. Since the price is not much more than taking a taxi, it is usually recommended that you ask your hotel if they offer this service, if you are interested in a more comfortable half-hour ride to the hotel.
Direct bus connections between the airport and other cities in Taiwan are also available. U-bus also runs shuttle buses every 30 min from both terminals to THSR Taoyuan station (15 min away), from where you can continue your journey by high-speed train.
The closest hotel to the airport is the CitySuites Gateway Hotel, 10 minutes to Cing-pu High-speed Rail Station; 3 minutes to Taoyuan International Airport.
Songshan Airport
Songshan Airport  at the top end of Dunhua North Road is the city's domestic airport, and there are flights arriving and departing for all major cities on the island and the outlying islands every minute.
By train
All inter-city trains, including those operated by the Taiwan High Speed Rail [6], arrive and depart from Taipei Railway Station on Zhongxiao West Road, Sec 1 - opposite the 53 story Shinkong Mitsukoshi Building. Taipei Main Station is a huge facility. Ticket counters are on the first floor and platforms in B1. There is also a food court on the second floor, several underground shopping malls, an auditorium on the 5th floor, and MRT stations serving three lines. In addition to ticket counters, the first floor also has a tourist office, small supermarkets, a post office, stores selling aboriginal handicrafts and several booths offering head and neck and full body massage (NT$100 for every ten minutes).
By Bus
Private and government intercity buses arrive and depart from the Taipei Bus Terminal (also called Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal). The terminal is a few minutes walk to the west of Taipei Railway Station (to the left and behind the station when facing the building from Zhongxiao West Road). A convenient way to reach the terminal is via the underground 'Taipei Shopping Mall' (located at the rear/north side of the station) - '4 South' is the nearest exit to the terminal. NB: For refreshments or snacks, the terminal only has convenience stores; for fresh drinks, passengers will need to go to the underground 'Taipei Shopping Mall' where there is a juice bar near exit '4 North ' (directly across from the exit for the terminal) and a coffee shop near exit '10 North'
Generally speaking, the buses operated by private companies are more comfortable and sport such amenities as wide reclining seats and individual game and video monitors. The government run buses are blue and white and are called guoguang hao. All intercity buses are known as keyun and can be distinguished from the local city buses called gongche by the fact that they do not have a route number, but only the name of the destination.
By metro
Taipei MRT
MRT Station in TaipeiTaipei City has a very clean, efficient and safe Mass Rapid Transit system known most commonly as the MRT, but also called Metro Taipei. Muzha line, which connects to Taipei Zoo, is a driverless elevated system. The last trains depart at midnight. Fares are between NT$20 and N  T$65 for one-way trips around town. Stations and trains are clearly identified in English, so even for those who cannot read Chinese, the MRT system is very accessible. All stops are announced in four languages: Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka and English. Most stations have information booth/ticket offices close to the ticket vending machines. There is no eating or drinking while in the stations or on the trains. Trains generally run from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, with convenient bus connections outside the stations.
Women and/or children travelling at night can benefit from the Safe Zones - sections of the terminal that are under heavy surveillance - located in some of the subway lines.
In addition to single journey tickets, the Taipei MRT also sells value-added cards/smartcards called EasyCard. These cards hold amounts up to NT$5,000, and one only needs to swipe them past the barrier monitor to gain entry and exit. Value added cards can be purchased at station ticket offices or at vending machines. One great advantage of using the EasyCard is that there is a 20% discount on all MRT rides, and if you transfer from the MRT to an ordinary city bus, or vice versa, within an hour, the bus ride is only NT$7. The discount is automatically calculated when you leave the MRT station. The EasyCard can be recharged at convenience stores and subway stations. In addition to the subway and buses, some parking lots also offer an option to pay with the EasyCard. To purchase a new EasyCard you will need to pay a deposit of NT$100.
Often times limited-edition cards are issued by the transit authority depicting artworks, famous characters, landscapes, etc. These are quite collectible and are perfect souvenirs for your trip. Remember single-journey cards are recycled when you exit the stations, so if you want to keep a particular card you should purchase an extra.
By bus
Taipei City has a very efficient bus service,
Taipei City Busand because all buses display information (destination and the names of stops) in English, the( system is very accessible to non-Chinese speaking visitors. Payment can be made by cash NT$15) or EasyCard (see "metro" listing) for each section that the bus passes through. For local buses (all local buses have a number, but long distance buses do not) the maximum will be two sections with a total cost of NT$30. The confusion, however, arises by not knowing where the section boundaries are located. If you begin your journey at the first stop, you may travel for a long distance for only NT$15. However, if you get on just before a section boundary, you will have to pay for two sections, even if you have only traveled a few stops.
When to pay: Above the driver, there is an electronic red sign. If the Chinese character for "up" is lit, then you pay when you get on. If the same sign is lit when you get off, you do not need to pay again. However, if the sign is displaying the Chinese character for "down" (ÏÂ) when you are getting off, then you will need to pay a second time. Finally, if the character for "down" is lit up when you get on, then you only need to pay when you get off. Until you get the hang of the system, just let the locals go first and follow their action. It's really not as complicated as it sounds!
And if you are transferring from the transit system to a bus within 1 hour, there is a discounted bus fare.
By taxi
Taxis are the most flexible way to get around, and are extremely numerous. They are expensive in comparison to mass transit, but are cheap when compared to taxis in the rest of the world. Most taxi drivers speak very limited English, and it will be necessary for non-Chinese speakers to have their destination written down in Chinese. Taxis are metered, with higher rates for night (an additional NT$20 over the meter). Tipping is neither necessary nor expected.
Passengers who sit in the front seat of the taxi are required to buckle their seatbelt. Women and/or children traveling at night are advised to use one of the reputable taxi companies. Toll free taxi hotline: 0800-055850 (maintained by Department of Transportation).
Taiwanese taxi drivers are notorious for their strong opinions on politics as they spend all day listening to talk radio, although they will probably be unable to share any of this with you if you do not speak Chinese.
By bicycle
Even though motorized traffic is very heavy in Taipei, bicycles are still legitimate vehicles to get around. For less dangerous riding, a Taipei City Cycling Map shows well designated bike routes.
Address system
The Taipei address system is very logical and user-friendly. The hub of the city is the corner of the east-west running Zhongxiao and north-south running Zhongshan roads, however while the north/south divide is made at Zhongxiao here, further east it is made instead at Bade road, something which confuses even people who have lived in Taipei for years. All major roads are identified by their direction in relation to these roads. For example, all sections of the north-south running Fuxing  Road north of Bade are called Fuxing North Road. Likewise, those sections to the south are called Fuxing South Road. Those that cross Zhongshan road are similarly identified as either east or west. Section  numbers begin at 'one' near the two defining roads and increase at intersections of major highways. For example, Ren'ai  Road (which only has an east location, and therefore does not have a direction suffix), Section 1 will be close to Zhongshan South Road. The section number will increase as one moves further away from Zhongshan Road. So, for example, when Ren'ai Road reaches Dunhua South Road far in the east of the city, a typical address could be: 7F, 166 Ren'ai Road, Section 4. The house and lane numbers begin at zero every section. Lanes  lead off roads and streets, while alleys  branch off lanes.

Editor: canton fair

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